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When pushed Smith fights back

Rookie defenseman earned his second career fighting major

Sunday, 03.10.2013 / 9:11 PM ET / Recap
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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When pushed Smith fights back

Brendan Smith
Defense - DET
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 1 | PTS: 1
SOG: 22 | +/-: 5
DETROIT – The third time was enough for Brendan Smith.

The Red Wings’ rookie defenseman missed 11 games this season following a hard hit by eight-year center Derek MacKenzie. But Smith wasn’t about to turn the other cheek on Sunday afternoon when the Columbus center tried to deliver a high hit behind the Red Wings’ net early in the third period.

“Sometimes he’s just running around a bit, so I tried to do a good job of protecting myself,” Smith said. “There’s a line, and he crossed it, so that’s when I got frustrated.”

Smith chased MacKenzie to the blue line before the two dropped their gloves. Smith was the aggressor and obviously upset as he landed several punches. It was Smith’s second career fighting major. He fought Chicago’s Andrew Shaw last season.

While Smith said there’s no real history with MacKenzie, where was a questionable incident back on Jan. 21 when the Blue Jackets’ center sent the rookie into the end boards.

“I actually got hit from behind by him in our first game in Columbus,” Smith recalled. “Second game of the year I got hit from behind our net.”

There was nothing dirty about MacKenzie’s hit that sprained Smith’s right shoulder on Feb. 2. But clearly, Smith was seeking a little pay back when he recognized that it was MacKenzie, who came in high in Sunday’s game.

“I knew before he came to hit me, and then he kind of got his hands up,” Smith said. “He came in and he was kind of running his mouth and stuff, and whatever. I didn’t like it anymore so it was pretty mutual.”

Asked if he thought MacKenzie has targeted him this season, Smith said, “Probably not. It’s just situational, but I definitely got hit from behind and went face-first into the glass” on Jan. 21.

Smith is known more as a quality puck-mover with incredible offensive upside than he is for his fists. But he said Sunday if he’s pushed, he’ll push back.

“I won’t shy away from it but I never look for it,” said Smith, who had 11 bouts in three seasons with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins. “I want to play. I want to be a player and contribute. I feel that this year has been a little tough for me to contribute. Obviously right now you see my points. It’s a little frustrating that the puck won’t go in the back of the net. But I won’t shy away from it and if somebody tries to jump me, I’ll answer the bell.”

The Red Wings finished their five-game season series against the Blue Jackets on Sunday, with Columbus earning a 3-2 shootout victory.

For whatever reason, the Jackets have been a thorn for the Red Wings in winning their first season-series against the Original Six club in their 12-year franchise history, posting a 4-0-1 record. The Wings’ lone win came in a shootout at Columbus on Jan. 21.

On Sunday, the Red Wings committed 16 giveaways, which led to several Jackets’ scoring chances.

“I think a lot of our passes weren’t tape-to-tape,” Smith said. “If you’re not connecting passes and it’s just giveaways then obviously they’re going to dump and chase. That’s their game. (They) get in and muck it down low and play hard, and try to jam it to the net. If we’re connecting we have possession of the puck and they can’t do that.”

THREE STARS: 3, Jack Johnson, CBJ (29:51 TOI); 2, Pavel Datsyuk, DET (1 assist); 1, R.J. Umberger, CBJ (1 goal).

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
5 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 52 27 18 7 138 132 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 52 18 20 26 38
H. Zetterberg 53 9 27 3 36
T. Tatar 52 16 17 -1 33
G. Nyquist 53 14 15 -2 29
P. Datsyuk 38 8 20 12 28
J. Abdelkader 53 14 13 -3 27
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 39 5 11 7 16
D. DeKeyser 49 6 8 12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 20 10 4 .933 1.97
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89